Dear All,

I am as astounded as anyone with today’s announcement of the Pope’s impending resignation. In many ways, I think this is a major setback in any hope for significant reform in our lifetimes. I have terror instead of joy today.

Consider these realities.In the normal course of events, Popes die and suddenly cease to be a vital presence in the Church. Their rings are smashed and their power is gone. Existing alliances among the Cardinals are reinforced freely. In some cases new ones may be hastily forged without fear of being called disloyal. The members of the Curia have no leader and no jobs, but they are at least free to make up their own minds about who will become the new Pope.

However, now we have a unique situation. Benedict XVI has had a hand in the selection of every Cardinal who will vote for his successor, either as the closest advisor to his predecessor or, for now the majority on his own. Each of those men has a sworn oath of loyalty to him not until he resigns, but until his successor is chosen. I suppose he could release them from that vow, but don’t count on it. After all, the system demands that they must be completely loyal to someone. And he will be physically present, looking over the shoulders of each of them as they make up his, not their minds.

This is one of the most diabolical, Machiavellian, tyrannical, unconscionable and disgraceful plots in history. Perhaps the absolute worst.

Presumably, when he submits his resignation to himself (and I assume accepts it), the person in charge will be his hand-picked confidant Cardinal Bertone, who has been accused of covering up the Vatican’s financial scandal. The Pope will then be free to lobby full time for his successor to the 125 or so men who owe him their careers, their wealth, their acclaim and their mediocrity. And one of them will succeed him.

And all of those passive Compliant Catholics will settle back in their pews and mutter, “We are obligated to give the new man a chance…for the next generation”…

This is a very dark day for the hope of reform.

Bob Betterton

See “Thoughts on Pope’s Resignation” for TheSteppingStones’ response.